NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

The Japan National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Tokyo is now reporting 7,134 syphilis cases through December 5, the first time this has happened in decades.

Image/Robert Herriman

Tokyo (2226), Osaka (761) and Aichi (379) prefectures have reported the most cases.

Syphilis was rampant in Japan until shortly after the end of World War II, but the total reported cases declined to several hundred annually until 2011, when a rebound began.

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Japan reported more than 5,000 syphilis cases three years straight and two consecutive years with more than 6,000 cases–Prior to 2018, the last time Japan saw more than 6,000 syphilis cases was 48 years ago.

Syphilis is a sexually-transmitted disease (STD) that can cause long-term complications if not treated correctly. Symptoms of syphilis in adults include a painless sore that will go away without treatment followed by a non-itchy body rash. If left untreated syphilis can lead to damage through the body including neurological and cardiovascular complications. Syphilis also increases the risk of HIV infection and, for women, can cause problems during pregnancy and for the newborn.